Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Autopsy of Jane Doe

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
Brian Cox, Emile Hirsch, Olwen Kelly, Ophelia Lovibond, Michael McElhatton, Jane Perry, and Sydney the Cat
Directed by: André Øvredal

So, I’d been wanting to see this film for years. But it was never on any of the streaming services I had (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Shudder). So yesterday I decided to check if it was on YouTube Movies and was happy to see that it was, and that it wasn’t expensive, so I bought it. And I have to say, it was worth every penny.

Tommy and Austin are a father and son coroner duo. Once evening, just when they think they’re done for the day, the sheriff brings in the body of a beautiful young woman who doesn’t seem to have a mark on her… at least on the outside. The further they get in the autopsy process, the more they realise that something is not quite right about this Jane Doe.

This was quite a good little film. You might think that a film that has basically just 2 characters in one room would be boring, but boring it definitely is not. It kept me on the edge of my seat most of the time, and actually managed to freak me out, something that’s very hard to do to this seasoned horror fan. The two leads were fantastic in their roles, and even Olwen Kelly, who had nothing to do but lay on a table, was great. I kept on staring hard at her when the camera zoomed on her face for any sign of a twitch, and there was none. It was creepy how still she laid. There were not many makeup effects besides that actual autopsy, but they were all done very well. The autopsy was done using some sort of mannequin instead of CGI, and it really payed off, it looked great. And finally, the explanation for what was happening was both awesome and heart-breaking (I won’t spoil it here). I highly reccomend you see this film if you love horror as I do and haven’t gotten around to seeing it yet. 9/10 from me, almost perfect.

M.

This film is currently streaming on Netflix if you live in the States. If, like me, you live in Canada, YouTube Movies is your best bet. Enjoy!

Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Possession of Michael King

The Possession of Michael King
(2014) Shane Johnson, Cara Pifko, Julie McNiven, Ella Anderson, Tomas Arana, Patricia Healy, Cullen Douglas, Jed Rees, Tobias Jelinek, and Dale Dickey

Let me start by saying that I generally don’t like found footage type films. No matter how good the story is, I just can’t get past the shaky cam, it’s rather nauseating. With that in mind, this film is done so well, and with a minimum of actual “shakiness”, that I didn’t mind. I went into this with zero expectations, and was pleasantly surprised. This film is much better than it has any right being.

Michael is an atheist who recently lost his wife in an unfortunate accident. After confronting his late wife’s “spiritual adviser” (a tarot card reader), he decides to make a documentary featuring what he believes will be proof that the supernatural doesn’t exist. He’s going to do any ritual he can find and when none of them work, that’ll be the proof he says. As is obvious in the title, things go horribly wrong.

Everything was remarkably good for a little indie film. Acting, effects, makeup, all were pretty stellar. The one thing I could say about it is that there were a few too many jump scares in a film that was creepy enough that it didn’t need them. There weren’t so many that I got annoyed, but still, the film could have done without. The plot was really simple, but it was done so well that it didn’t really need more. And that’s pretty much it. I’m trying to find other stuff to say, but “it was pretty great” pretty much covers it. A solid 8/10 from me.

M.

This film is currently streaming on Tubi.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Influence (La Influencia)

La Influencia (2019)
Manuela Vellés, Alain Hernández, Claudia Placer, Maggie Civantos, Emma Suárez, Daniela Rubio, Marta Castellote
Directed by: Denis Rovira van Boekholt

Oh, Netflix. Why you do this to me? Why do you make a blurb for a film look so bloody good, and then the movie so bloody bad?There is not one thing about this film that I liked. In fact, I stopped it at one point to see how long I had left (I thought it was almost done), and became so bummed out when I saw that I was only halfway that I almost didn’t start it up again. But I figured I’d finish it since I started it. I should have left it be.

HERE BE SPOILERS

The Influence is a Spanish language film made in Spain (don’t look at me like that, lots of countries speak Spanish), based on the novel of the same name by Ramsay Campbell. Wikipedia says it’s pretty faithful to the book, save some changes in the third act. I’d be interested in reading the book, since the story itself is interesting. Alicia is a nurse who comes home to take care of her dying mother (who she hates). As the film goes on we learn that the mother is a witch who used her children in all sorts of rituals. Now it seems that she’s controlling Alicia’s daughter Nora from her coma, wanting to transfer her soul into a young vessel. Hijinks, of course, ensue.

In the end, though, wasted potential is all this film is. It’s boring, most of the acting is bad, even the makeup effects are pretty crappy. And that ending… The showdown with the witch, which ends with her back in a coma all sliced up, Alicia and her husband broken and bleeding, and young Nora being tossed out the window. The film then ends with them in the hospital, locking the mother away in a room, and Nora recovering, then them driving off as a family, away from the cursed house. Now I can suspend all kinds of disbelief for a horror film. But are we supposed to believe that the cops wouldn’t get involved here? What did they tell them? That coma lady did it? That a 10 year old girl did it? I mean come on. All in all, this is a right turd of a film, and I want my hour and 45 minutes back. 2/10

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Eli

Eli (2019)
Charlie Shotwell, Kelly Reilly, Lili Taylor, Max Martini, Sadie Sink, Deneen Tyler, Katia Gomez
Directed by: Ciarán Foy

When I first saw the trailer for this on Netflix, I was immediately interested, and put it in my watchlist. And forgot about it, like so many others. Last night, while flipping through for something to watch, I saw this again, and decided to give it a shot. I’d seen mixed reviews about it, some people loved it, others hated it. But thankfully no one spoiled the ending for me, which was great, since it really is something. I was going to include spoilers in this review, but I’ve decided against it.

Eli starts out as a rather generic, but well done, haunted house flick. Eli is an 11 year old boy suffering from a debilitating auto-immune disease. He’s basically, as one character puts it, “allergic to the world”. He and his family drive cross country to the home/hospital of Dr Horn, an immunologist, who says she can cure him. But almost as soon as Eli and his family arrive, strange things begin to happen to Eli. He sees shadows, hears breathing, and, soon enough, starts to see ghost children. Dr Horn tries to assure him that it’s only hallucinations brought on by the treatments, but he’s having none of it.

All of the haunted house tropes are there, creepy ghosts, creepy music, parents that don’t believe the kids. But it was just interesting enough with the auto-immune disease that I kept watching, and boy am I glad I did. The final payoff is ridiculous. Ridiculous good, not ridiculous stupid. The acting is mostly good all around, with young Charlie Shotwell holding his own against the adults. I’d been looking for something really scary to watch last night, and while this isn’t, it’s still very much worth your time. A very good 8.5/10 from me.

As a side note, my boyfriend, who generally doesn’t like horror films, liked this one. So I should probably have given it a higher score, just for that, hehe.

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Haunting of Hill House (season 1)

The Haunting of Hill House (2018 – )
(Season 1 cast) Henry Thomas, Victoria Pedretti, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Kate Siegel, Michiel Huisman, Carla Gugino, Elizabeth Reaser, Timothy Hutton, Lulu Wilson, Violet McGraw, Julian Hilliard, Paxton Singleton, Mckenna Grace, Annabeth Gish

I don’t think I can fairly express how much I love this show. I read the novel a quarter century ago, so the details might be fuzzy, but I remember I loved it. And while the show isn’t quite a faithful recreation of the book, it’s so good that I don’t really care. Everything is wonderful, from the acting to the effects. Netflix really let director Mike Flanagan create his vision as is, apparently sparing no expense.

The story is simple, something we’ve all seen before I’m sure. The Crain family, mom, dad, and five kids, move into a beautiful, albeit a little run-down, mansion with the intention of flipping it for a great profit. But things aren’t what they seem at Hill House, and almost immediately hijinks ensue. The story runs back and forth, from the young family to the older, where the kids are all grown up. Some people might get a little confused with all the jumping around, but I found it was done well enough that I personally didn’t have any trouble. The story may be familiar, but it has just enough intrigue, plus it’s done so well, that it really doesn’t matter.

The only thing I could possibly say about it that’s negative, is that there’s maybe a few too many monologues. The characters talk slightly oddly on occasion, like they’re part of a one-man show. But really, I’m nit-picking here. All in all, it’s a superb show, and it more than deserves the score I give it of 10/10. If you haven’t seen it, and are at all a fan of supernatural stuff, sit down and watch it. You won’t be disappointed.

M.

Top 8 Onscreen Demons

Movies featuring demons are numerous, but there’s really only a small amount of them that are good. With such a high schlock content, a lot of films about or starring demons are awful, either being boring or stupid, or even both. But when done right, they can be downright terrifying.

I’ll only be including films in which the demon has a physical body, so no possession films. I’ll do another post dedicated to that sub-genre, since there are so many. So without any further ado, let’s get this show on the road. Oh, and spoiler alert, as usual.

 

NUMBER EIGHT

 Dogma

“No pleasure, no rapture, no exquisite sin greater… than central air.”

Name: Azrael
From What?: Dogma
Played by: Jason Lee
Scary or sexy: Sexy-ish (he was kinda cute back in the day, hehe)
His Goal: To negate all of existence. Apparently hell is awful.
Alive at the end?: No
If not, how did (s)he bite it, and by whom?: Silent Bob killed him with a golf club that had been blessed by a priest.

 

NUMBER SEVEN

HellBoy

“In the dark I heard your voice, what did you say?”
“I said, ‘Hey, you, on the other side – let her go. Because for her I will cross over, and then you’ll be sorry!'”

Name: Hellboy
From What?: Hellboy
Played by: Ron Perlman
Scary or sexy: Neither, really. Liz digs it, though, hehe.
His Goal: To stop the incoming Apocalypse and save his lady love.
Alive at the end?: Yes
If not, how did (s)he bite it, and by whom?: N/A

 

NUMBER SIX

Sinister

“The symbol is associated with a Pagan deity named Bughuul. He consumes the souls of human children. The ancient church believed that Bughuul actually lived in the images themselves and that they were gateways into his realm. Children exposed to these images were especially vulnerable to Bughuul’s abductions.”

Name: Bughuul
From What?: Sinister
Played by: Nick King
Scary or sexy: Scary
His Goal: Infecting a child so that he/she kills their whole family, then he abducts the child.
Alive at the end?: Yes
If not, how did (s)he bite it, and by whom?: N/A

 

NUMBER FIVE

Constantine

“Word is you’re on your way down. Fresh meat. Finger lickin’ good.”

Name: Balthazar
From What?: Constantine
Played by: Gavin Rossdale
Scary or sexy: Sexy (at least until John melts his skin with holy water)
His Goal: The usual demon stuff, plus mess with John as much as he can
Alive at the end?: Yes, but is sent back to hell.
If not, how did (s)he bite it, and by whom?: N/A

 

NUMBER FOUR

Buffy

“You don’t know how to kill this thing?”
“I thought I might try violence.”

Name: Der Kindestod
From What?: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Played by: James Jude Courtney
Scary or sexy: Very, very scary
His Goal: Feeding on the life essence of children in a hospital.
Alive at the end?: No
If not, how did (s)he bite it, and by whom?: Buffy killed it by snapping its neck.

 

NUMBER THREE

Angel

“Are you okay?”
“I’m fine. That was… you were so… brave!”
“You think you could say that again without so much shock in your voice? You’re stepping on my moment of manliness here.”
Name: Doyle
From What?: Angel
Played by: Glenn Quinn
Scary or sexy: Sexy (until the demon comes out)
His Goal: To help Angel save people using his visions from the “powers-that-be”.
Alive at the end?: No
If not, how did (s)he bite it, and by whom?: He sacrifices himself to turn off a device that would kill a lot of humans (and I cried like a baby).

NUMBER TWO
Conjuring 2
“Your name gives me dominion over you, demon, and I do know your name! You are Valak! The defiler! The profane, the marquis of snakes! In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, I condemn you back to hell!”

Name: Valak
From What?: The Conjuring 2 / The Nun
Played by: Bonnie Aarons
Scary or sexy: Very, very scary. Omg, did this thing give me the absolute heeb.
His Goal: To kill Ed Warren via a haunting he’s investigating in England.
Alive at the end?: Yes, but is banished back to hell by Lorraine.
If not, how did (s)he bite it, and by whom?: N/A

NUMBER ONE


“Easy, love. If you remember our time in Mesopotamia the way I do, you know I’m a lover, not a fighter.”

Name: Various, there are so many demons in this world, with Crowley being the most important.
From What?: Supernatural
Played by: Various, but Mark Sheppard plays Crowley
Scary or sexy: Both
His Goal: Again, various things. Crowley wants to be the King of Hell, Lilith wants to start Armageddon, etc.
Alive at the end?: Both
If not, how did (s)he bite it, and by whom?:  Those that are killed are usually done so by Sam or Dean with their special knife or gun.

And that’s it for the demons. Who (or what) are your favourites? let me know in the comments, and I’ll see you next time!

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Invoking

The Invoking (2013) (aka Sader Ridge)
Trin Miller, D’Angelo Midili, Brandon Anthony, Andi Norris, and Josh Truax

So I’m not entirely sure what I just watched. By its title alone, The Invoking sounds like a supernatural horror movie. Possession, witches, demons, something in that vein. There were none of those in the film. It was also super low budget, it looked like it was filmed on one of those little camcorders. The acting was mostly awful, with perhaps only D’Angelo’s character Eric, the weird (but strangely hot) caretaker, a bit better than the rest.

HERE BE SPOILERS

The story centres around Sam, a young university student who inherits a house from an aunt she never knew. As soon as she arrives, she starts having nightmares, both while awake and asleep. She sees visions of her friends but they don’t seem to be themselves. Then the caretaker starts offing the friends, using Sam’s nightmares to make it seem like they’re killing themselves / each other… maybe? I’m not sure. I pretty much got the gist, though, that Sam and Eric are siblings, and something horrible happened to them as children. Then it ends with a cop coming to the door asking about a few kids that went missing, and we see Sam’s name, aged 14 years. Eric says no, never seen them. Cop leaves, Eric goes back inside where Sam is, and they kiss. Ew? And that’s it. The end.

So what the hell happened? Here’s what I think. I think it’s one of those “it’s all in her head” things. Her “friends” are actually her father and other siblings (or father, mother, brother, I’m not sure), and Eric and Sam killed them when they were kids, as seen in Sam’s nightmares. It doesn’t explain the incest, but I think it explains everything else.

After all that, did I like it? Not really. Did I hate it? Not really. It’s one of those generic films that you see, shrug off, and forget 5 minutes after it’s done. It gets a very “meh” 4/10 from me.

M.

Mel’s 10 Things About… Penny Dreadful, season 2

Penny Dreadful (2014 – present)
(Season 2 Cast) Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Harry Treadaway, Reeve Carney, Rory Kinnear, Danny Sapani, Helen McCrory, Billie Piper, Simon Russell Beale, Sarah Greene, Douglas Hodge, Jonny Beauchamp, Hannah Tointon, Patti LuPone

Penny-Dreadful 2

{SPOILERS INCOMING}

1. Not quite as good as season 1, but still bloody excellent! This show is so good that for a while after watching it, I have trouble enjoying other stuff, cause not much is as good!
2. Kinda disappointed they started a new storyline instead of continuing the one they left off. I mean what, are the brothers politely taking turns trying to claim Vanessa?
3. Eva Green is hot. So is Josh Hartnett. Meow.
4. Mrs Poole’s dolls were creepy as hell… right up to the finale, where Vanessa was arguing with her doll. It was supposed to be tense and scary, but unfortunately came off a little silly. It’s really the only really bad thing I can say about the season, though.
5. Speaking of the finale, with each character ending up completely alone, I hope it doesn’t take half of season 3 to reunite them!
6. The whole Angelique sub-plot felt kinda tacked on for no other reason than to shock the audience. I liked her, I did, but it always felt superfluous to the rest of the story.
7. Lily’s big reveal was quite something, very unexpected. A little sad, cause the blossoming love story between her and Victor was super cute, but I suppose no one can stay happy for long in this world.
8. I’m a bit sad that Dorian, whose character I loved in season 1, went so bad so fast. I know he was never a good guy, but I dunno. I just really preferred him in season 1.
9. Loved all of Vanessa’s back story. The episode about her and her mentor was absolutely perfect, start to end.
10. Looking forward to see what Hecate will be up to next. Here’s hoping they don’t just skip to the next story again, and just leave her hanging. I need to find out if Ethan will really be turned bad. I certainly hope not.

If you haven’t seen this show and like all things macabre, then I suggest you put down whatever you’re doing and see it, now! It’s playing in several country’s Netflix, and is also playing on On Demand.

M.

Mel’s 5 Second TV Review: Penny Dreadful Season 1

Penny Dreadful (2014 – now)
Season 1 cast: Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green, Harry Treadaway, Reeve Carney, Rory Kinnear, Billie Piper, Danny Sapani, Olivia Llewellyn, Olly Alexander, David Warner, Alex Price, Alun Armstrong

PENNY DREADFUL

So, I haven’t been keeping up to date on TV shows for a long time now. Even shows I love, like Supernatural and Doctor Who, I’ve completely slacked on. Not sure why. I still watch a lot of stuff, but it’s all documentaries and stuff like that. But slowly the fiction bug seems to be creeping back, with me watching more and more movies, and even some TV shows, like this one.

I’d been interested in it since the moment I heard of it (back when it was still in production, I did an article about teen hearthrobs, and Josh Hartnett was on the list), and I told myself I’d watch it when it came out. Of course, I didn’t. But speaking to my mother this weekend, she told me she tried to watch it, but couldn’t because it was too creepy. That immediately piqued my interest, and I just had to watch it.

Disappointingly, season 1 only has 8 episodes, but I absolutely devoured them, doing the whole thing in two sittings. I’d have done it all in one, but it was late, and I had to drive home the next day (3 hour drive), which is always hard on me. The setting and costumes are gorgeous, and the actors seemed perfectly suited for their roles. Even Josh Hartnett, who, despite his beauty, was never the best actor, has upped his game. The characters are all from classic horror, with Dr Frankenstein, Mina Harker, and a master vampire who has to be Dracula (but we still haven’t met him yet) rounding out the cast. And the story, there’s definitely no slouching in that department either, wonderfully complex yet simple at the same time. All said and done, this is, simply, a wonderful, wonderful show. 10/10. I can’t wait for season 2!

This series is currently streaming on Netflix Brazil, and is also on CraveTV. Enjoy!

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Annabelle

Annabelle
(2014) Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Alfre Woodard, Tony Amendola, Eric Ladin, Joseph Bishara

Annabelle film still

Ah, what a sad disappointment this was. Especially since The Conjuring was so good. The doll was massively creepy in that film, but only ugly in this one. Most of the actors were alright, but Annabelle Wallis was downright difficult to watch sometimes, emotionless save for a look on her face that looks like she’s desperately trying to remember her lines. The story was so generic that it almost hurt, and far from being creepy, that demon was just funny. The film had a few good, tense scenes, but on the whole, was mostly a yawn-fest. And it gets an equally dull score from me, a very meh 5/10. Avoid unless you really have a hard on for possessed dolls.

This film is not currently playing on Netflix.

M.